Friday, July 28, 2000

Assistant wants to succeed Holcomb

Gattermeyer says he'll continue crime-fighting legacy

By Steve Kemme
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — Dan Gattermeyer announced Thursday that he wants the Democrats to appoint him to finish John F. Holcomb's term as Butler County prosecutor, and to be the party's prosecutor candidate on the Nov. 7 ballot.

        Although the Butler County Democratic Central Committee will not vote on appointments until Tuesday, Mr. Gattermeyer has the support of party leaders, the prosecutor's staff and Mr. Holcomb's family.

        Mr. Gattermeyer, who has been assistant prosecutor for 15 years, said he wants to continue Mr. Holcomb's legacy of fighting crime and to serve a community he's lived in his entire life.

        “I've got a special commitment to this community,” he said at a news conference at the prosecutor's office. “We're going to honor Mr. Holcomb and the community by being tough on crime.”

        Mr. Holcomb, who had been prosecutor for 27 years, died of an apparent heart attack Saturday.

        Don Daiker, chairman of the Butler County Democratic Party, and four top assistant prosecutors, Dan Eichel, Rick Hyde, Victoria Daiker and Kathleen Romans, attended the news conference.

        The race between Mr. Holcomb and his Republican opponent, Rob in Piper, had become bitter at times, with each side accusing the other of dirty politics.

        Mr. Gattermeyer had been Mr. Holcomb's campaign manager but has never run for public office. He promised to run a clean campaign.

        “There were vicious personal attacks against John Holcomb and his family,” he said. “But I plan to run a clean campaign with integrity and with the focus on toughness on crime.”

        Mr. Piper criticized Mr. Gattermeyer for holding a news conference on his candidacy the day after Mr. Holcomb's funeral.

        “I think it's offensive and disrespectful to John Holcomb,” said Mr. Piper, who worked for Mr. Holcomb for 14 years before being fired for raising funds for a Republican judicial candidate.

        Mr. Gattermeyer said his news conference had the blessing of the Holcomb family, and that he has taken special care to be respectful of Mr. Holcomb's memory.

        He said integrity was one of the differences between him and Mr. Piper.

        “I think I learned a lot more from John Holcomb than my opponent did,” he said.

        Mr. Gattermeyer, 42, of Hamilton, and his wife, Pamela, have four children, ages 14 to 7.

        Mr. Gattermeyer acknowledged that he must increase his name recognition to win the race.

        “I'm legally changing my name to Dan Holcomb,” he joked.

        The county commissioners on Thursday voted to rename the Butler County Law Library the John F. Holcomb Butler County Law Library.


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